Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's a Brautigan time of year

The leaves are beginning to turn here in SE MN. It's the autumnal equinox. Much of Brautigan's work can be described as autumnal, which got me searching around for poems or passages that reference a season, and then wondering whether the seasons -- at least in these pieces -- are interchangeable.

From "The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster:"

Sit Comma and Creeley Comma

It's spring and the nun
like a black frog
builds her tarpaper shack
beside the lake.
How beautiful she is
(and looks) surrounded
by her rolls of tarpaper.
They know her name
and speak her name.


Fall might work better here because that's when frogs burrow into the mud to get ready for winter. That's being picky, I know.

From "June 30th, June 30th:"

Chainsaw

A beautiful Japanese woman
/ age 42
the energy that separates
spring from summer
(depending on June)
20 or 21
--- so they say ---
Her voice singing sounds
just like an angelic chainsaw
cutting through
honey.


I love the interjection 'so they say.' What do scientists know, anyway? What really separates spring from summer?

From "The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster"

After Halloween Slump

My magic is down.
My spells mope around
the house like sick old dogs
with bloodshot eyes
watering cold wet noses.

My charms are in a pile
in the corner like the
dirty shirts of a summer fatman.

One of my potions died
last night in the pot.
It looks like a cracked
Egyptian tablecloth.


Can you see the line 'dirty shirts of a summer fatman' with any season but summer?

And finally (also from 'The Pill...")

The Return of the Rivers

All the rivers run into the sea;
yet the sea is not full;
unto the place from whence the rivers come,
thither they return again.

It is raining today

in the mountains.

It is a warm green rain
with love
in its pockets
for spring is here,
and does not dream

of death.

Birds happen music
like clocks ticking heavens
in a land
where children love spiders,
and let them sleep
in their hair.


A slow rain sizzles
on the river
like a pan
full of frying flowers,
and with each drop
of rain
the ocean
begins again.

This one sounds a little like e.e. cummings in spots ("birds happen music"). Obviously, spring matters in this poem.

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